2022: the cement year in review

2022: the cement year in review
23 December 2022

As 2022 draws to a close, ICR reviews the main cement industry headlines from the last 12 months, and summarises an eventful year which saw the sector facing tumultuous energy markets while forging ahead with an array of decarbonisation initiatives.

CEMEX agreed to the sale of its Costa Rica and El Salvador assets in January to Guatemala's Cementos Progreso. Siam Cement Group (SCG) of Thailand vowed to spend US$2.08bn on technical innovations to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2030. In addition, Sinoma CBMI announced the start-up of the Kalambaina Cement (BUA Group) EPC project in Nigeria.

February saw Secil and Cimpor announce a green hydrogen cluster project. Argos opened its new Cartagena cement terminal to triple its export capacity to 3.5Mta. HeidelbergCement reported a 6.3 per cent YoY revenue rise in 2021 despite high energy prices that were about to rise further with Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In March it was announced that Rohrdorf would be the first German cement plant to be equipped with  a CO2 separation plant. Spanish cement plants closed temporarily as a consequence of rocketing energy prices, while German building material prices reached record highs. Akkermann Cement LLC (UMS group) acquired funds to buy a 98.6 per cent stake in Akhangaracement LSC in Uzbekistan, while Lehigh’s Edmonton plant announced a goal of capturing 0.78Mta of CO2 from 2025.

ICR reported on the shockwaves being felt in the energy sector in April, with Russia's military invasion of Ukraine. CADE gave initial approval for CSN's acquisition of LafargeHolcim Brazil's operations and Lanwa Sanstha Group opened its greenfield 4Mta cement plant in Sri Lanka. 

May saw the European Council (EC) reach an agreement on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) regulation but still had to resolve the phase-out of the free emission allowances. IEEE-IAS/PCA welcomed 800 delegates to Las Vegas, while Holcim announced its exit from the Russian market and sold Ambuja Cements and ACC Ltd in India to Adani Group

By June the low demand for cement imports in China had caused a drop in Vietnamese cement and clinker exports. Meanwhile, Holcim launched the world's first 100 per cent recycled clinker as building material prices reached unprecedented levels in Germany

Southern Province Cement announced construction was to begin on its new 5000tpd Jazan plant as July’s issue of ICR was released. Taiwan Cement saw a 7.8 per cent revenue decline on mainland China YoY, while Holcim El Salvador's Maya plant started using Holcim's Plant of Tomorrow technology. Meanwhile, European construction braced itself for a slowdown with spending cuts and the energy crisis escalating cement producers' costs.

In August CalPortland completed the acquisition of the Redding cement plant from Martin Marietta Materials Inc, in the USA. South Africa's PPC returned an 11 per cent rise in revenue YoY in the 1Q22 and CEMEX announced that its San Pedro De Macoris plant would trial hydrogen technology, while the Competition Commission of India accused 17 cement companies of antitrust violations. Carbon prices in Europe continued to rise and the EUA December 2022 contract peaked at a record EUR99.40, after previous notable highs of EUR95.80 in February and EUR91.85 in May.

In September HeidelbergCement rebranded to Heidelberg Materials. Titan Cement Group also launched its CemAI technology and Adani Group announced a US$100bn investment plan, while Qassim Cement signed an MoU for the proposed acquisition of Hail Cement in Saudi Arabia.

In October Votorantim Cimentos announced its rebranding, while the Cemtech Europe 2022 Conference and exhibition focussed attention on decarbonisation. Furthermore, Lehigh Hanson (Heidelberg Materials) announced US$3.7m funding from the US Department of Energy’s (DoE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management for its carbon capture project at the Mitchell plant with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America Inc.

November's news highlighted the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) which Cembureau President Isidoro Miranda said was imposing a EUR8/t additional production cost on EU cement manufacturers compared to producers outside the region. Meanwhile, Cementos Concepción (Cecon) started trials at its new Paraguayan cement plant and East African Portland Cement launched its Green Triangle Cement.

The final month of the year saw Anhui Conch announce a revenue fall of 30 per cent in the 3Q22, reflecting the unprecedented contraction of cement demand in China as YoY volumes fell by 12.1 per cent over the first nine months of the year. The UK also received a green light for a new grinding plant in Sheerness Docks, Kent, while the European Council announced plans to introduce the carbon border tax with full implementation by 2027.

Global cement consumption fell in 2022, dragged down by China's performance which was hit by prolongued lockdowns and a second-half slowdown in Europe. The 2022 calendar was massively impacted by events in Ukraine, as the Russian invasion sent shockwaves through the energy and fuel markets, resulting in unprecedented cost inflation. 2022 was also the year when carbon capture projects really took off, while plans Europe's highly consequential carbon border tax were firmly established. Major multinationals like Holcim and Heidelberg Materials furthered their contrasting strategies to decarbonise, and Adani Group emerged as a significant new player in India following Holcim's landmark divestment.

Published under Cement News